When Jackson Martínez scored a goal, he always looked at the sky, raised his firm hands, uttered some words as if in a whisper, sometimes he got down on his knees, received hugs from all his teammates, but it was as if he himself wanted to embrace the immensity of the heaven. He was thankful up there for the work converted down here, on the lawn, in an intimate dialogue with his God. Today that conversation continues, but it has been transformed. Jackson changed the green of the field for the stages, changed the ball for a microphone, and changed the goals for songs for God.
Jackson has long since stepped away from competitive football. Since 2020 he kept the guayos under the bed. He didn’t throw them away, in case he ever needed them. What he did was dust off piles of papers that he had, with letters that he wrote himself when he was injured, when he spent a lot of time at home, hours and hours reading the Bible, praying, traveling, from China to the United States, then back, mitigating thus the desperation of the injury, of not playing, of not doing what he knew best, so he prayed, read, wrote, and his writings were about God, and one or another rhyme came out, like that, spontaneously, in the form of rap, he knew about it, he learned as a child in his native Quibdó, in Chocó, where he spent hours listening to that music, perhaps with the same intensity with which he played soccer.
One day, overwhelmed by the injury, Jackson decided he had something to do with those lyrics coming to life as music. He wanted to record the songs for personal use, to remember them as a family, in the future. Something very intimate. A closed circle. He wanted to remember that God was not letting him fall into the pit of his thankless injury. That’s what his music was for. But he was in for a surprise.
“These songs have to be published,” they told him in the recording studio.
“No, no, no, what I do is play soccer, I’m not a singer,” Jackson answered, without much conviction, it’s that the little musical vein spoke in his ear, and since he continued with the injury, he got excited.
“Here’s a message to give,” they insisted.
Then Jackson, who is called the ‘cha cha chá’ with a mambo flavor —because of the fact that nicknames have to resemble their owners—, said that yes, that ready, that just as he was inspired by the field to make goals that he dedicated it to God, he could do it on stage, or in a recording studio. He had lots of lyrics, on paper and in his head, he had songs that began to be songs, and thus, his life as a singer came to light just when his life as a soccer player was hidden. His rap was particular, his rap had a message, like all rap, but this was a spiritual message, something like Christian rap. Jackson stopped talking to God on the court. Jackson began to sing to him.
It’s Monday. Jackson is in Portugal, traveling in his car. He is happy. His countenance reveals it. He has good news. On the one hand, his new musical album is coming out soon, on April 27. And on the other, his recovery from the long and desperate ankle injury, the same one he had in 2015 and whose seriousness he only came to know in 2016, and which ended up taking him out of football, is in its final stage. The end of a long viacrucis is approaching.
So Jackson spends his days with hard work in the gym, physical therapy, he can’t wait to step firmly and without pain. Can’t wait to get back on the field. Meanwhile, Jackson continues with his Christian rap. And he is happy with it. In this way he has managed to transmit what goes through his head and through his spirit. Thus he has been able to say everything he wants about his God, for whoever wants to listen to him. And he has his public, followers who no longer celebrate his goals but his rhymes, who ask for new songs, who watch his music videos, who follow him on shows with the devotion of a fans for his scorer.
There is music for all tastes, and there is music that exalts the name of God, and there is an audience attentive to that. I hope to continue carrying the message of the Gospel
“I am fulfilling the objective that is that my music is understood, my message, and that for those who are interested in listening to this content it is a blessing. There is music for all tastes, and there is music that exalts the name of God, and there is an audience attentive to that. I hope to continue carrying the message of the Gospel”, says Jackson from his vehicle, while leaving kilometers behind, and while he is remembering everything that was his football career, and he thanks God for everything: his first professional goal with Medellín, his successful arrival at Jaguares de Chiapas, his most successful move to Porto, his disappointing move to Atlético de Madrid, his move to Chinese soccer, his stay with the Colombian National Team, and of course, the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, scoring two goals against Japan, dedicate them to all of Chocó, and to his father, and remember that thanks to his effort, Jackson got to where he got, and also remember that every time he scored a goal he looked at the sky, pointed, whispered: “Thank God for this”, and if he didn’t score, he still looked at the sky and whispered: “Thank you, God, it will be in the next one.”
Now this Jackson, the one who scored more than 200 professional goals between clubs and the National Team, spends it on stage, in churches, speaks with a firm, serene and calm voice, speaks to the public that goes to watch him, and so on. it’s how he gives the message he wants to give, and then he gets excited, refines his throat and raps. And what is he rapping? What he writes, what is born to him, but what?, they will ask. We ask him now, while he advances through the Portuguese streets. And Jackson drops an exclusive. Jackson sings a capella a song that is still unpublished, like a goal that he plans to see the light of day on some court.
“To follow God there is no doubt
Many thoughts come and go
To follow him, there is no doubt
There are many things that entertain
To follow God there is no doubt (…)
With permission, I will explain to you what the text of the Roman Bible 3:23 shows me…”.
From the pitch to the stage
The first time that Jackson went on stage to sing to God, his legs trembled, it was just like what happened when he had his first professional match, with Independiente Medellín, the same nerves, the same tickles, the same responsibility. On the pitch he knew what he had to do, calm his nerves and score goals. He knew about it. And he quickly gained confidence. On the platform he also knew what he had to do. Microphone in hand and release his rhymes, his rap. He also knew about it and also took confidence.
“The big difference is that now I can interact with people, whereas when you play you can’t do that, you only think about the match. But it has similar things, like everything, it requires dedication, perseverance, commitment. Like any discipline,” says Jackson.
God, his God, is his inspiration. He was always in his life. She was with him every step of the way. God always first. When he was at Atlético de Madrid, an unidentified teammate told the Marca de España newspaper: “Jackson believed more in God than in himself.” Jackson is used to that kind of comment. They don’t affect you. What did affect him was when starting his musical career it was said that he received God as an outlet to a life of “lust”.
“What lust, Jackson?”
—It’s just that one day I made some statements about my life before I met God, and I mentioned that I was surrounded by things, by lust… and I didn’t fall for them. Some media took that I said that I had consumed things, that I had retired from football for leading a life of lust. My childhood was surrounded by those things, but in the end you make the decision. It is better to have little and that you can enjoy it. —Jackson pauses and meditates on a Biblical quotation—: Better little than the great treasure where there is trouble. I did that, but they misunderstood what I said.
For Jackson, God was his company on the pitch, his best attack partner, his best assistant, the one who made the passes and helped him define with a goal. God was also his football, the field, the victories and defeats, God was the ball: As Juan Villoro says, God is round.
“My relationship with God is sincere in the sense that I do not have a dirty conscience of sin; the least, even in thought, I confess. I can hide from anyone, but not from him. When you settle your accounts with God, it’s easier to deal with your own sins and those of others,” says Jackson.
the jackson miracle
His recovery is going so well that he is excited about getting back on the pitch, playing again, scoring goals again. When he announced his retirement, in 2020, he was determined, he did it because the doctors recommended that it was time to stop. Now, at 35, he leaves a little window open.
“Could I actually play again?”
—I am in a good stage after a year and a few months of struggle, the recovery seemed to not progress as we wanted, but there was a plan to follow and next month the objective is, before going out to the field, to carry out another process until can bear the load with physiotherapy work, gym, for the evolution of the ankle.
“But is he coming back?”
– The evolution has been enormous. I’ll see how I feel, but the desire and passion to compete are intact. If God gives me the opportunity and in the middle of the year I continue as I am, I could consider it —says Jackson and he is heard motivated, excited.
It is that the injury was the hardest test of his professional life. He now confesses that he stopped watching football for a while, that it hurt him. And he says, half jokingly, that when he was injured he wanted to play like that outside on one leg, he wanted to get on the TV screen. He was left with an apprenticeship, that of patience, of persistence. And he sees the positive side, if it hadn’t been for those long days of quiet, perhaps he wouldn’t have dusted off the lyrics that they had been waiting for a long time.
When he began to assimilate that he was not in football, he turned on the TV again, to watch the games. He was attentive to the Colombian National Team. He lamented the elimination of the World Cup in Qatar. He has his accurate analysis, without rhyme, he doesn’t need it, it’s an analysis from the outside. “The instability of the group did not help them. The Colombian National Team usually changes its coach a lot, there were changes at times not indicated, although things were not so good. A change brings another game, another methodology, and all of that affects. And there are the bad results at home…”, he says.
For now, Jackson Martínez will continue on stage, talking about his God, and will continue singing, recording and rapping, making rhymes, while the cool people continue to wait for him.
Editor of THE TIME
We want to give thanks to the writer of this post for this amazing content
Jackson Martínez, from football to music, a life dedicated to God